Where Do the Oxen Go? — a short story

Posted on 2014 March 6


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Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a chieftain walked along a shoreline and came upon a young man from his village. The young man, stick in hand, was scratching pictures into the sand.

The chieftain asked, “What are you drawing?”

The young man replied, “I’m inventing a new form of moving things around. I call it a ‘sailboat’. It will float up and down the coast, moving people and goods much faster than an ox cart.”

The chieftain thought about this. He asked, “Where do the oxen go?”

The young man replied, “Oh, there are no oxen! The sailboat moves with the wind.”

The chieftain snorted. “That’s impossible. An ox cart is too heavy to move simply from a breeze. There must be oxen. Where do you put the hay?”

Frustrated, the young man cried, “It’s not a cart! It’s wind-powered! There are no oxen!!

The chieftain snapped, “There must be!” The young man, angry, threw down his stick and stormed off toward the village.

The chieftain stared at the sand drawings. Then he used his foot to wipe them away.